Don’t want to go down the pay-per-click route?
Hate the idea of cold-calling and hard-selling?
Me too. Which is why I just let my content do all the advertising, marketing, and sales for me.
We don’t have an advertising budget at the London School of Attraction. We don’t use paid search. We don’t go looking for customers; they find us. And when they do find us, we don’t even really have to pitch to them. They know what we do, they know we can help them, and they’re pretty much ready to sign up.
All because they’ve read my blog.
In this article, you’ll learn how to create content which is not only great to read, great for your brand, and great for your corporate presence – but content which sells.
First, a caveat – selling via content is not a short cut. It takes a phenomenal amount of hard work, and you’ll need to be (or employ) a half-decent writer. But it’s fun, lean, efficient, and it works.
So, here are my top 5 tips for creating content which sells.
1.) Establish Authority
Our readers are prepared to pay for our coaching courses because we establish our authority through our articles. They trust that we’ll have a thorough knowledge of the teaching methodologies, and that’ll we’ll have come across their particular problems before.
You can’t blog authority; if you don’t know what you’re talking about, you’ll be found out. But, assuming that you are an authority on your own subject, here are two tips to make sure your readers know it:
1. Review and appraise. I spend a lot of time on the blog writing reviews: I review books about psychology; I critique (and sometimes praise) advice on competitors’ websites; I tell my readers the best and worst bars to take a girl on a date.
Writing reviews shows that I’m on top of all the information and advice that’s out there. And it also puts me in the role of authority figure, one who is able to critique and appraise other so-called experts.
2. Walk the walk. Alongside my review and advice articles, I write a lot about my own experiences. Instead of just telling my readers how to approach women, I write articles with what happened when I had a go myself.
Make sure you stay present in your content as a real person. If you don’t, your content can sometimes come across as just rehashed advice. People want to give their money to experts who are both knowledgeable and experienced, so make sure your readers know you’re out there getting your hands dirty too.
2.) Tell the Truth
If your content consists of nothing other than negative reviews of your competitors and glowing tributes to your own services, your readers will soon lose interest.
The buying public is very shrewd nowadays. They’re sick of marketing copy which assures them that you can change their life. They’ll switch off if they don’t see at least some evidence of a balanced opinion.
We constantly stress in our content that our courses are no magic bullet. While other companies in the sector promise the earth, we tell our readers that it won’t work for everyone and that it takes a lot of effort from them.
The customers we end up selling to always tell us how refreshing it is to read content that speaks to them like they’re grown-ups. Content like this builds trust because you’re admitting your fallibilities straight up.
So, introduce a note of honesty into your content. If you’re not the cheapest supplier around, admit it! But explain that you’re the best and the most reliable. If your product lacks certain features, don’t bury that in the small print. Admit it, and use it to justify your low prices and excellent customer service.
People want to be understood. They want to hear from someone who really seems to “get” them and their problems. This builds rapport in all areas of life. It’s especially pertinent for selling.
Creating content which empathises is quite tough. When you’re face-to-face with a client, you have all sorts of tools at your disposal: eye contact, body language, and the ability to respond to his concerns almost immediately.
On the page it’s tougher. But it’s not impossible. Simply ask yourself, “how is the reader feeling right now?” For our readers, they’re usually feeling frustrated or lonely or fed up. So my job as a content writer is to show that I can appreciate what they’re going through.
I’ve tried to do the same at the start of this article. Once I’ve thought what someone reading this article is likely to be thinking, I then simply say it back to them and offer some advice.
4.) Link to Your Services/Products
A whole archive of advice on your chosen field would be a wonderful thing to stumble upon. But unless there’s some sort of link to what you’re selling, it’s not going to do you much good! The reader will work his way through the articles and then leave.
The key is to drop little hints about what you offer throughout the articles themselves. You don’t want to ram it down the guy’s throat that you’ve written this article as a way to push your services. Instead, seed the odd article with references to what it is that you do.
An example from our business, we sell coaching courses to men and women who want to feel more confident with the opposite sex. Every couple of articles I write, I try to include a reference. If I’m writing an article on great body language, I might start a paragraph with something like: “I was working with a guy recently on one of our coaching courses and we…”
Little references like this build intrigue without being too obvious. Eventually, your reader will feel compelled to look into these coaching courses (or whatever it is you’re selling).
5.) Have a Clear Call to Action
I won’t be the first person to stress the importance of a clear call-to-action. But I’m going to say it anyway: you must have a clear call-to-action at the end of every one of your articles.
Readers of online articles are a pretty predictable breed. They’ll tend to read the article (as long as it’s held their attention) and then look for a clue as to what to do next. If there’s no clue, they’ll close the tab and go and look for something else to amuse them.
If you want them to do something else, you have to tell them! Want them to sign up to your mailing list? Have the box for their name and address below the article. Want them to click onto your services page? Provide a link. Want to suggest they check out some similar articles? Have an article title and maybe an excerpt for them to navigate to.
Remember, your content can be world class, but it needs to lead to a tangible conversion. Don’t miss out the final crucial step.
Alex Chubb: The London School of Attraction is a Soho-based coaching company. It was set up in early 2012 to help men and women build confidence with the opposite sex.
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Category: Startup Advice